Spent the morning with a now disabled 16-year veteran of the US Army who served in several war & conflict zones with special forces. He resigned after being abandoned in an Iraqi desert with a mate who died from a snake bite. Both his sons were in the military, including one deployed to Afghanistan. He quoted his 20-something son as saying that if you can’t identify a Taliban from a village resident, just kill them all. The mantra of rightwing confusionist forces who call for a US “humanitarian invasion” of Syria to support the Syrian revolution is “If the Syrians want a US military intervention, who are we to oppose them?” Who are we to oppose them? We’re the ones who watch our beloved sons, daughters, neighbors turned into psychotic killers who see every stranger as an enemy combatant. We’re the ones who watch our beloved become inculcated with racism, xenophobia, colonial & white supremacy. We’re the ones who witness the systematic corruption of American society under the pernicious influence of glorifying militarism. As for those Syrians who allegedly remain confused about the character of US militarism or the role of the US military in the Syrian counterrevolution, our response is that the problem is not the failure of the US Pentagon but the betrayal of the international antiwar movement to stand with the Syrian revolution. Principled antiwar activists is who we are & we make no concessions whatsoever to guilt-baiting which in this instance panders to orientalism.

Russian pres. Oct 9 2018

This time-exposure photo collage of Putin sarcastically titled “Nine stages of the leader’s decomposition” was done by a Russian artist who photographed Putin’s image placed on a seed bed decay progressively . A Russian court ordered the seditious collage destroyed. So much for democracy in Russia. And still so many who call themselves progressives and revolutionaries champion Russia & Putin as champions of modern democracy. Just like they did Stalin. Stalinism isn’t a historic betrayal & failure; it is an enduring political method by those who believe social change is forcibly & autocratically imposed on people whether they like it or not. As in Russia, so in Syria & elsewhere. Stalinism is finding its final resting place within fascism & some of the advance guard call themselves Trotskyists. How sarcastic can history get?

We can be despondent or panic at the assumption of sniffles Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court or we can finally face the reality that substantial & enduring social progress has always come from independent political action & never from governmental actions & policies.

RIP Palestinian Ibrahim Al-Arouqi Oct 3 2018

This is 72-year-old Ibrahim Al-Arouqi who Israeli snipers assassinated while he was protesting unarmed at the apartheid barrier fence between Gaza & Israel. He was two years old when Israeli terrorist death squads took over Palestine & declared it a Jewish state. May he Rest In Peace.

Long live Palestinian Intifada.

(Some are reporting that this man’s name is Ibrahim Nawwaf & that he is 78 years old.)

(Photo tweeted by Ahmad Matar)

Palestinian trying to cut razor wire with teeth (tweeted by Mosheer Amer) Oct 3 2018

A young Palestinian protester attempting to cut razor wire on the apartheid fence with his teeth. Commentary unnecessary.

Long live Palestinian Intifada.

(Photo tweeted by Mosheer Amer)

Just as Christine Blasey Ford was 100% certain that Kavanaugh was the guy who sexually assaulted her, we can be 100% certain that he will be voted on to the Supreme Court. The Trump administration has managed to discredit every agency of the US government, including the presidency, Congress, FBI, CIA, & Supreme Court. And that’s a good thing.

A few weeks back I finally moved my library from San Antonio to McAllen & have had fun going through my old friends & putting them back on shelves. I came across a 2001 Verso book titled “The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid”,  a powerful collection of articles written during the Second or Al Aqsa Intifada which began in September 2000 & lasted until early 2005. It was before the Palestinian call for BDS in 2005. Chomsky wrote an excellent introduction, Edward Said (who died in 2003) has a couple  excellent essays, among several others including Mouin Rabbani, Omar Barghouti, Robert Fisk, & Ali Abunimah. There is discussion of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian refugees, the 1982 Sabra & Shatila massacre, a comparison of the 1987 Intifada with the Al Aqsa Intifada, the presentation of Palestinians as terrorists in media.

In rereading the book, I am struck by the extremes of violence which Palestinians have always sustained at the hand of Israel & that the abhorrent tactics used against unarmed protesters at the Great Return March in  Gaza like killing little kids & emergency medical personnel were employed against protesters in the 1987 & 2000 uprisings. The internet & social media make that reality much more available to us whereas in 2000, with only mainstream media reporting, that information was not easily come by.

I recommend the book for its analyses but I warn you it is hard to read. The Palestinians have endured so much & lost so much at the hands of Israel & its supporters, especially the US, but still they resist with all their might. It will inspire you to redouble your commitment to Palestinian justice & to building BDS.

Michael Karadjis, an Australian professor who opposes the Assad regime, also advocates for a no-fly zone in Syria administered by the US Pentagon. He has never clarified what prompts his trust in the US other than hoping against hope & closing his mind to over 150 years of US war & colonial history. On September 11th, he posted this call on his Facebook wall & since I am unable to respond because of the 30-day ban I am currently sustaining I will respond to it here. This is his comment:

“FLOOD IDLIB WITH ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES NOW! TO PREVENT THE ASSAD/PUTIN SLAUGHTER! Let the Syrian people on the ground exercise their right to self-determination, by providing them the means to bring hundreds of Assadist and Russian warplanes crashing to the ground in fire. After all these years of horror, give the Syrian children in Idlib the right to observe a massive fireworks display in the sky, rather than allowing the warplanes of the fascist regime and its invading Russian imperialist backer to roast those children. There is no humanitarian, ethical, political or even practical reason for this to not happen. The manpads are available and have been for years. They are only blocked from entry into Syria by the US government, which has blocked them since 2012. Anyone who thinks this statement is just mechanical “anti-Americanism” in the face of the Russians doing the slaughter, just try to deny these facts. It is an air war against civilians, launched, yes, by Russia and Assad; the means of bringing down their warplanes, without any intervention, by the Syrian people themselves, exist; these means are blocked by the US. For anyone that thinks that this call on the US to *end* its intervention is a call for “imperialist intervention” against nice Mother Russia and the nice secular Syrian government, you are the equivalent of neo-Nazis.”

This is my response:

Which country would be doing the flooding with anti-aircraft missiles? The US block on weapons is a form of military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime. It is an obfuscation of the role that the US is playing in the counterrevolution, not an abstention. Are we to call on the Pentagon to change its character and now become a partisan of the revolution? That sounds like pissing into the wind.

Those who oppose the Assad regime have been able to mobilize tens of thousands in protests around the world while the ‘official’ antiwar organizations refuse to protest & support Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians. Why does Karadjis completely ignore organizing principled antiwar mobilizations & instead substitute trust that the US Pentagon will deliver anti-aircraft missiles if we call for them to do so? It’s peculiar politics that looks to one of the most bellicose institutions in the world to save the Syrian revolution rather than mobilizing the hundreds of thousands of people who oppose all military intervention in Syria.

No! Idlib is Not a ‘Terrorist Enclave’ by Sina Zekavat

Syrian civilian protester in Idlib (Anas Alshamy) Sept 30 2018

This is a very cogent article by Sina Zekavat showing the political convergence on the siege of Idlib by rightwing Islamophobe Tulsi Gabbard, fascist David Duke, & Vijay Prashad, a Bernie Sanders supporter who identifies himself as a Marxist. The convergence is more than deplorable since Prashad influences many people who lack confidence in their own ability to study & understand the complexities of the Syrian counterrevolution.

This article clearly lays out the problem. What has now to be done is sustained analysis of what political processes have led to such an international corruption of progressive & antiwar forces. It is not just a problem among western leftists as so many polemicists maintain. An understanding of this phenomenon is critical if we are to regenerate the antiwar movement on a principled basis. We need to understand how to work, even if it’s possible to work, with those who betrayed the Syrian Arab Spring uprising but who oppose US wars in other countries. Factionalism & sectarianism are not helpful here while at the same time we cannot compromise on opposing militarism, Islamophobia, & anti-Semitism which inform most support for the Assad regime & certainly the corruption of the antiwar movement.

http://www.mangalmedia.net/english//no-idlib-is-not-a-terrorist-enclave

Sniffles Kavanaugh Sept 30 2018

Sniffles Kavanaugh: as a servant of the US ruling class, this lowlife creep has a rap sheet of human rights crimes a mile long. Now when he gets called out as a rapist, he breaks down & cries like a baby. The likelihood is that the FBI investigation will be mostly sham & this guy will be voted on to the Supreme Court, just like Clarence Thomas before him. Trump has managed to do what generations of social critics have been unable to do: discredit every institution of the US government, including the presidency, Congress, FBI, CIA, & Supreme Court. That’s a good thing. Now we can get down to the business of owning our responsibility for making this country suitable for all human beings to live in, not just white rich men.

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